For me, winter is incomplete without gorging on Undhiyu at least a few times. I grew up in an undhiyu-making South Indian family in Gujarat, and can’t not make it when all those glorious winter veggies are at their bountiful best. That’s so not done! We make a relatively healthy version, in a pressure cooker, as opposed to the way it is traditionally made. I’m here today to share with you all our easy recipe for Pressure Cooker Undhiyu.
This recipe was published first on my blog in the year 2020. It is now re-published with more step-by-step pictures and better instructions.
What is Undhiyu?
If you are wondering what on earth Undhiyu is, let me begin by telling you that it is a celebration of winter, of all the lovely vegetables that are in season in the cold months. Think yam, carrots, sweet potatoes, hyacinth beans, pigeon peas, fenugreek leaves…Undhiyu is a Gujarati dish, made using a mix of these winter vegetables.
Traditionally, Undhiyu is made in an earthen pot or matka – the veggies are stuffed with a fragrant coriander-coconut-peanut masala, then layered in the pot, then sealed and set upside down to cook in a sand-covered pit. The name of the dish comes from the process of inverting the pot for cooking – inverting is ‘undhu‘ in Gujarati, hence ‘Undhiyu‘. It is also referred to as ‘Matla Undhiyu‘, thanks to the way it is cooked in an earthen pot ‘matlu’ in Gujarati).It is sheer delight, this dish. It is so flavourful and hearty that it would make one fall in love with winter veggies, if they aren’t already.
For Gujaratis, Undhiyu is more than just a dish. It’s an emotion, as it is for me too. It is a popular accompaniment to pooris and phulka rotis in Gujarat, a must-have on the festival of Uttarayan.
About Pressure Cooker Undhiyu
The traditional method of making undhiyu is quite laborious and time-consuming. Moreover, these days, hardly anyone has access to a sand pit where one can cook! 🙂 With time, Undhiyu began to be cooked in a pan on the stovetop, but the process still remained tedious and tiring. This Pressure Cooker Undhiyu is a rather simple, much easier way of cooking the dish – a cheat’s version, if you want to put it that way.
Once you have the veggies chopped and some basic prep work ready, making the Pressure Cooker Undhiyu is a matter of minutes. I don’t stuff the vegetables with masala, but add it as is to the pressure cooker – works just fine! It needs very little oil, as opposed to the oodles that goes into making Matla Undhiyu. I don’t deep-fry the veggies, the way I have seen some Gujarati families doing. I do deep-fry the Muthiya or fenugreek-leaf dumplings that go into the Undhiyu, but you could make them in an appe/paniyaram pan if you want to cut down further on the amount of oil used.
How to make Undhiyu in a pressure cooker
Let’s get to the recipe for the Pressure Cooker Undhiyu.
This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suitable for those following a plant-based diet. It can also easily be made entirely gluten-free by avoiding the asafoetida used in the recipe.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
- About 4 heaped cups of chopped veggies, like elephant foot yam, carrot, raw banana, cauliflower, hyacinth beans (See notes)
- 1 heaped cup of shelled beans (pigeon peas, hyacinth beans and green peas, mostly)
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (til)
- 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
- 1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3-4 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste
- 4-5 green chillies
- 8-10 cloves of garlic
- A 1-inch piece of ginger
- 1/2 cup peanuts
- 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
- About 1 cup finely chopped fresh coriander + some more for garnishing
- Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
For the muthiya:
- 1 medium-sized bunch of fenugreek greens (methi leaves), roughly 1-1/2 cups when chopped
- 1 cup of gram flour (besan)
- Salt to taste
- 2 pinches of asafoetida
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Red chilli powder to taste
- A fistful of fresh coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds (til)
- 1-2 tablespoons jaggery powder or as needed
- Oil, as needed for deep-frying
For the garnishing:
- Freshly grated coconut, as needed
- Finely chopped fresh coriander, as needed
First up, prep the vegetables required for the Undhiyu.
1. Peel the carrot, potato, sweet potato, elephant foot yam and raw banana, then chop them into large pieces.
2. Remove the tops from the eggplants, and chop into large cubes.
3. Chop the cauliflower into large pieces.
4. Remove strings from the hyacinth beans and cut them off into halves.
5. Keep the shelled green peas, hyacinth beans and pigeon peas ready.
Next, we will prepare the masala for the Undhiyu.
1. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till crisp, taking care to ensure that they do not burn.
2. Let the peanuts cool down fully, then coarsely crush them in a mixer. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the fresh grated coconut and finely chopped coriander to the mixing bowl.
4. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves. Chop roughly. Remove the tops from the green chillies, and chop them roughly too. Grind the green chillies, ginger and garlic to a paste in a small mixer jar, using a little water. Add this paste to the mixing bowl too.
5. Use your hands to mix all the ingredients in the mixing bowl well together. The masala is ready.
Now, we will start cooking the Undhiyu.
1. Take the oil in a large pressure cooker, and place on high flame. When the oil gets nice and hot, add in the sesame seeds, carom seeds and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
2. Add all the veggies to the pressure cooker. Layer the tougher root vegetables like elephant foot yam and sweet potato at the bottom, followed by potatoes, carrot and raw banana on top of them. Over this, place the vegetables that are easier to cook – cauliflower, hyacinth beans, brinjals and all the shelled beans.
3. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and jaggery powder. Add about 1/2 cup of water from the sides. Place the masala we prepared earlier on top. At this stage, the cooker will be almost full to the brim. Don’t mix up the ingredients.
5. Close the pressure cooker, and put the weight on. Cook for 3 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.
In the meanwhile, we will prepare the Muthiya.
1. In a large mixing bowl, add in the gram flour.
2. Add the finely chopped fenugreek leaves, salt, turmeric powder, jaggery powder, finely chopped coriander, red chilli powder, carom seeds, sesame seeds and asafoetida. Mix well, using your hands.
3. Use a little water to bind the ingredients into a soft, pliable dough that is not too dry.
4. Heat oil for deep frying in a heavy-bottomed pan. Let the oil get nice and hot.
5. When the oil is hot enough, form small oval shapes from the dough. Drop them into the hot oil, 2-3 at a time. Deep fry on medium flame till brown on the outside, taking care to ensure that the muthiya do not burn. Transfer to a plate when done.
6. Deep fry all the muthiya in the same way, without overcrowding the pan.
Lastly, we will prep the Undhiyu for serving.
1. When the pressure from the cooker has fully gone down, open it. Add in lemon juice and the muthiya we prepared.
2. Mix well, but gently. The Undhiyu is ready to serve, once the muthiya have soaked for 20-25 minutes. Serve with pooris, rotis or parathas after garnishing with freshly grated coconut and finely chopped coriander.
Tips & Tricks
1. Groundnut oil works best in Undhiyu. However, any oil of your preference can be used.
2. Adjust the quantity of green chillies you use, as per personal taste preferences.
3. Typically, a large quantity of coriander and generous amounts of peanuts, garlic and coconut are used to make the masala for the Undhiyu. Don’t skimp on these ingredients – they add a whole lot of flavour to the Undhiyu.
4. The vegetables typically used in making Undhiyu are – Hyacinth beans (avarakkai or sem ki phalli), shelled hyacinth beans (avarakottai or sem ke beej), eggplants (kathrikkai or baingan), carrot, shelled green peas (patani or matar) , shelled pigeon peas (thuvarai kottai or hare toor), elephant foot yam (senaikizhangu or suran), raw banana (vazhakkai or kachha kela), cauliflower, potato (urulaikizhangu or aloo), sweet potato (sakkarai velli kizhangu or shakarkand). You can use these in any proportion you like – they should totally be about 5 heaped cups when chopped and ready. You can use any variety of eggplants. Personally, I like using a generous quantity of shelled pigeon peas, hyacinth beans and green peas in Undhiyu.
5. The traditional Gujarati Undhiyu uses a local variety of flat bean (called Papdi) and purple elephant foot yam (called Ratalu). However, these two vegetables aren’t very easy to find everywhere. Hence, I do away with the purple yam completely and use regular hyacinth beans (sem ki phalli) in place of the Papdi.
6. I use a large 8-litre pressure cooker to prepare the Undhiyu.
7. Adjust the quantity of jaggery powder you use, as per personal taste preferences.
8. Pressure cook the veggies for 2-3 whistles, depending upon how firm/soft you want them to be. I prefer 3 whistles.
9. Adjust the quantity of fenugreek leaves you use in the muthiya, as per personal taste preferences.
10. Some people add the muthiya to the undhiyu just before serving. I prefer adding the muthiya to hot undhiyu, letting them soak for 20-25 minutes before serving.
11. The dough for the muthiya should be firm, but neither too dry nor sticky. If it gets too dry, add a bit of water. If it gets too sticky, adjust it with a little gram flour.
12. To test whether the oil for deep frying is hot enough, drop a little piece of the muthiya dough into it. If it immediately starts to rise to the surface, the oil is just right – at this point, you should reduce the flame and start deep-frying the muthiya. If the dough doesn’t rise and settles down at the bottom of the pan, it indicates that the oil needs to get hotter.
13. You can layer the vegetables in the pressure cooker, too. Place some of the root vegetables at the bottom, spread a layer of the masala on top of them, then spread some more root vegetables over them. Again, another layer of masala, then one of the raw banana, cauliflower, eggplant and hyacinth bean pods. Another layer of masala on top, then the shelled hyacinth beans, green peas and pigeon peas. Finish with a layer of masala on top. You can add in the salt and turmeric powder on top – it gets evenly distributed when the veggies cook.
14. Some people add a mix of coriander (dhania) powder and cumin (jeera) powder to the Undhiyu. Some prefer adding a dash of garam masala. I usually do away with these ingredients.
15. Make sure you chop the veggies slightly large, so that they don’t get overcooked and too mushy
16. Any leftover Undhiyu can be refrigerated and used the next day.
17. If you can get your hands on green onion and garlic, do use them in the Undhiyu. I’m not a big fan of green onion and, hence, haven’t used it. We don’t get green garlic here in Bangalore, so I haven’t used it either.
Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!